Qantas has flagged sweeping changes to its operations for a post-Covid world in which job cuts, outsourcing, route realignment and distribution changes are aimed at cost savings of A$15 billion (US$10.6 billion) over three years.
Most of the savings will be accomplished by reduced flying.
“At the start of this year, we were on track for another strong profit. Dividends were set to increase. We were hiring new people and getting ready to order aircraft for Project Sunrise [non-stop Sydney-UK flights].
“What has become crystal clear is that the Qantas Group after Covid has to be structurally different to the Qantas Group before Covid,” said chief executive, Alan Joyce.
The airline aims to prioritise Asian markets with Covid-19 "bubbles".
"By early next year, we may find that Korea, Taiwan and various islands in the Pacific are top Qantas destinations while we wait for our core international markets like the US and UK to reopen," said Qantas chairman Richard Goyder.
Joyce, speaking at the airline’s annual meeting on Friday, said Qantas is renegotiating arrangements with travel agents, “which will create better selling opportunities for the trade and significantly reduce our cost of sale”. No further details were given.
In a further blow to a Qantas workforce already hit with 6,000 redundancies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the recovery plan is targeting the outsourcing of all of its ground handling work at Australian airports.
The airline said it could save A$100 million a year by shifting baggage handling, aircraft cleaning and ground support work to a third-party aviation service provider such as Dnata or Swissport at 11 airports.